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Taiwan closely monitoring ties with Dominican Republic: official

2017/10/18 12:53:34

Taipei, Oct. 18 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has closely monitored Taiwan's diplomatic ties with the Dominican Republic for "a long period of time," a Taiwanese official said Wednesday in response to a warning that the Caribbean ally could be growing closer to Beijing.

At a legislative hearing, opposition Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker Chiang Chi-chen (江啟臣) pointed to signs suggesting the possibility that the Dominican Republic could switch its allegiance from Taipei to Beijing.

He noted that Dominican Republic Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (王毅) during the United Nations General Assembly this September and that Vargas did not voice support for Taiwan during the just concluded U.N. session.

In response, Foreign Minister David Lee (李大維), who fielded questions during the hearing, said the ministry has closely watched the ally for a long time.

Lee also said that he visited the Caribbean ally in July and Vice Foreign Minister Jose Maria Liu (劉德立) went there in August, and added that Liu is headed there again "right now" to strengthen ties.

During Lee's trip in July, however, he did not meet with Vargas. Taiwan's Foreign Ministry explained at the time that Vargas was on an overseas trip and had his deputy welcome Lee instead.

But there is no immediate threat of the ally cutting ties with Taiwan, said a foreign ministry source speaking on condition of anonymity because the individual was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.

Liu's trip is meant to enhance bilateral cooperation, the source noted.

Also, Vargas met with Wang in September because the Dominican Republic is trying to secure a non-permanent member seat on the United Nations Security Council in the future and was soliciting China's support, the source said.

(By Joseph Yeh)
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